Out you go Campbells. Sort of.


Tonight, I made a chicken loaf from ground chicken.  I managed to get the spices just right…and with the help of good old olive oil the texture was nice and moist.

Normally, for the sauce on a chicken or turkey loaf, I would take a can of campbell’s mushroom soup. lightly dilute it with water….and pour it on.

However, I am learning….to apply my knowledge in a quick and easy manner and avoiding these salt infested processed canned goods.  In a can of Campbell’s mushroom soup if you took all the mushrooms in that can and rebuilt them, you’d be hard to be able to make one whole mushroom.

And, really, the sauce is easy-peasy and takes very little time.

Just wash a cup of mushrooms well.  Cut the big ones, leave the little ones whole.  Put them in a sauce pan and saute’ them in 1/4 cup of butter.  Now while whisking vigorously, add 1/4 cup of all-purp. flour.  Cook this on medium heat until the flour forms a nice smooth paste around all those yummy mushrooms.  Now, add 1/2 cup of half n half cream, whisking fast (this goes very fast), and now whisk in 1 full cup of milk.  Whisk until it is a smooth thick sauce.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Done. (if your sauce is too thick, add more milk, if too thin add more flour as flours do vary and you may need to adjust)

Pour sauce over your nicely done chicken or turkey loaf.


Creamy Dreamy Pressure Cooked Mac n Cheese!

Another busy day has come and gone.  My ironing is done and my car is squeaky clean inside and out.  Those were my major accomplishments along with all the little stuff in-between.  This morning I was talking to my fairly new friends on facebook on a page ‘Debbie’s Back Porch.  Someone had asked for a great Mac n Cheese recipe.  I offered my stand by, Chef John’s Mac n Cheese which is a goodly amount of work with many steps involved.  Mind you, it is delicious and my husband loves it.  But….Following that thread today gave me ideas and I’m glad they did.

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This week I had to replace my pressure cooker as I lost, really lost the weight from the handle.  Took it off to wash it…and ‘*poof* it was never to be seen again.  Anyway, I quickly replaced it as it is a kitchen tool I use often since discovering it through a friend a couple of years ago.  So, of course I am eager to use this shiny beautiful Fagor 8 quart cooker. 

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As I said, they gave me ideas.  Debbie from Debbie’s back porch had said in that thread she used Carnation milk in her mac n cheese.  My ears perked.  I had remembered a recipe for the Pressure Cooker that involved Carnation milk.  Found it and of course altered it.  What happened was ultra fast, ultra creamy, ultra pressure flavour infused mac n cheese.

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Put in the bottom of your PC, 3 cups water, 3 cups elbow macaroni, 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper, 1 and 1/4 tsp. salt, 1.5 tsp dry mustard.  Stir.  Lock lid. Bring to high pressure.  Reduce heat while keeping pressure.  Time 5 minutes.  When done, quick release.  Remove lid.  Turn heat back on to med-high.  Stir in one can of carnation milk.  Stir until it starts to thicken.  About 3 minutes.  Stir in 3 cups of old cheddar cheese.  That’s it.  Done and delicious.  I served this with my home fried chicken and peas.  Click to the the creamy dreamy effect. 

Habitant Soup

Today was a good day.  I pressure canned 16 pint jars of Habitant soup.  Of course I used a tested and safe recipe from Bernardin/Ball.   I did the taste test before processing, and yes, it hit the mark, a great recipe!

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These jars are still internally boiling.  You can see the thickness of the peas is on the bottom of the jars and the water is on the top.  This is actually a good thing.  I know now that it won’t be too thick nor too thin.  There’s a good mix of water to peas. As I continue to look at my jars, they are still boiling and as they cool the water is mixing nicely with the peas.  Perfect.

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Now we can have home made pea soup any time we want.  It will be nice to open a jar on my bread baking days.  Fresh bread slathered in real butter and a hot bowl of Habitant soup.  Lunch anyone?

Pressure = Pleasure

What a day!  I had no water all day until 6 pm tonight.  We had to wait all day for the repair people to fix our pump.  But, this is where pressure canning and pressure cooking comes in sooooo handy!  Tonight for supper I did an amazing lasagna in my pressure cooker.  I used my pressure canned meat sauce as the base and added a quart of my home canned whole tomatoes. 

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I put my water bathed tomatoes into the bottom of my pressure cooker, added two pint jars of my pressure canned  meat sauce, added 10 packaged lasagna noodles broken in thirds.  I made sure that the noodles were under liquid and I added about 1/2 cup water to do this.

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I started my pressure cooker and when it came to pressure at 5 lbs. I timed out 6 minutes, did a quick release and opened the cooker….oh yeah coming along.  I then made sure my noodles were tender and now I added 1 small can of tomato pasted, stirred it in.  Okay, now one small step to go… I put all this into an oven safe open dish and put a nice amount of freshly grated mozzarella cheese on top, and I set it under my broiler until the cheese was just starting to brown and was bubbly.  Okay…no exaggeration….this was GREAT!!!   No running water needed, a wholesome meal and about 20 minutes invested.  I love being ‘UNDER PRESSURE’! 

An Apple a Day….

This is what 13 lbs. of fresh Ontario apples looks like…after I get through with it.  Normally when I make applesauce it’s in small amounts as my meal planning calls for.  There have been many times though, when I’ve had a nice pork roast or pork chops and wished I had apples to make sauce.  So, I decided to can some.  I bought a handy tool to go with my Kitchen Aid stand mixer and this made the process so much easier.  No peeling, no coring, just washing cutting and cooking it down to soften the apples.

After filling my large stock pot with my washed apples and half a cup of water, I let them cook down for about 45 minutes, stirring frequently so they didn’t stick or scorch.  Then I spooned them into the Kitchen Aid vegetable strainer and it removed all the seeds and peeling and left me with a wonderful bodied applesauce!  I returned this sauce to a clean stock pot and brought it to a boil again, I did add a little sugar as they were quite tart and of course some cinnamon.  I filled my clean jars, removed the air and followed safe canning guidelines.  I boil water bathed them for 20 minutes and made sure they sealed.

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I love the colour you get when you can leave the peel on while they soften and cook down.  They say the best part is the peel so I feel good about getting those nutrients out and into my sauce.

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This will be such a handy treat to always have sauce on hand.  Click the pictures to enlarge.  Thanks for visiting my blog!!

Boston Style Beans! (Pressure Canned!)

Okay, I am becoming a canning addict.  This is my first foray into the world of canning beans.  There are so many variations that I want to try them all.  This one after reviewing all the safe canning rules I came up with to give the tangy sweetness of Boston beans with a bit of a zip.  I only did a small batch to learn the skills of canning beans.

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I did all the usual safety tasks of canning and here is the basics of this recipe.   This sauce contains 1.5 cups brown sugar, 1 cup molasses, 1.5 tsp dry mustard, 1.5 tsp black pepper, 3 cups ketchup,  1.5 tsp salt.  I brought it to a full boil and reduced the heat.

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After an over night soak and 3 hours of cooking on the stove, I drained my beans saving the liquid in a clean bowl.  I then put the beans back in the stock pot and added the above sauce.  I brought this back to a boil then turned the heat right to low, stirring frequently.

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I then ladled the bean mixture into my jars, filling 3/4 full.  I then added the saved bean water to bring the level to 1 inch from top of jar.  Cleaned my jar tops and put the tops on.   I am also trying out some of my new Tattler tops.  I then put them in my pressure canner, vented for 10 minutes at full steam, then at 10 lbs pressure processed for 65 minutes.  Beans must be Pressure Canned to be safe.

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The beans are still boiling here in these pictures and just now I am hearing the snap snap snap of the jars sealing….music to my ears.  I think the beans look great, nice and saucy.  I know they will taste great as this is the sauce I use when baking my beans.  I just wish now I would have doubled this batch.  I’m so happy!!  (click the pics to get a good look! use your back button to return)

New Beef Broth.

Right now my house smells in credible.  It’s amazing when you make your own beef broth for pressure canning, how fast you go through it.  Beef broth lately has been recently labeled as a new health food.  I could have told them that years ago.  Boosts the immune system and gets things firing on all cylinders. 

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So in the oven I have slow roasting a wonderful mix of raw bones with a couple of shank steaks tossed in for good measure.  I have knuckles and legs and joints with lots of marrow that will melt into wonderful beefy goodness.  Added in of course is lots of chunky onion, carrot and celery and oodles of fresh black pepper.

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While the raw bones are roasting I have my frozen treasure of saved bones from the summer.  Porterhouse bones, t-bone bones frozen right off of the summer bbq grill and of course my lovely, lovely Prime Rib bones.

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These pre-cooked bones go right into my big pots for a all day simmer, later on in the afternoon my roasting pan ingredients will join them along with my garlic, spices and boiled roast pan drippings.

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This will simmer all day, cool over night in the basement refrigerator.  Tomorrow I’ll skim the fat (which I save for cooking and frying) and bring it all to a pleasant boil for my home canning.  I hope to get a good 12 quart jars…maybe more if I’m lucky.

Did I say how wonderful it smells in here?  I’m so hungry.  Click the pics to enlarge, use your back button to return.  Thank you for stopping in.  Hope you enjoyed your visit.

What I Did for My Summer Vacation

Farm women have so much fun!  When we aren’t cutting grass, or weeding the garden, or planting the garden, or harvesting the garden, or cooking the meals, or hanging out the laundry or ironing said laundry, or helping out when needed, or weeding the flowers, or cleaning the pond, or changing the kitty litter, or doing the books….we are canning and freezing and freezing and canning. 

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In both pantries I have about 300 jars of various goodies.  From chicken broth to green beans and lots of fresh corn and everything in between.

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And then there’s the freezers.  Eggplant and peppers and carrots and onions and beet greens and kale and and and….all full to the top and waiting for the snow to blow. 

Next week I think I’ll can my beef broth and on it goes…..oh and maybe freeze some apple pies. 

Okay, I’m tired.  Time to rest as tomorrow is a brand new day.  Don’t forget to click the pictures to have a good look.  ~Leasa

This is a fall favourite!

Lucky for us, our garden yielded some really awesome squash!  This is a dish that we all enjoy so much and it’s really great if the squash is small and you can give an entire squash per person.  It’s a bit time consuming to make but so worth the effort!

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You can adjust the amounts you need according to how many people you are serving.  I am serving three adults.

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Slice your quash in half.  Dig out seeds.  Put them upside down on a glass pie plate that has about 1 cup of water in it.  Microwave on high for about 6 minutes, or until they are fork tender.  Now, put your squashes right side up on a baking sheet.  (use rolled up tinfoil to make them stand up secure)  Butter the insides generously, salt and pepper them and sprinkle with brown sugar.  Set aside.

Peel and boil your potatoes with a few handfuls of kale thrown right in with the potatoes, I also heavily salt the water as I find doing this gives a nice balance of salt in the potatoes.  After your potatoes are nice and soft, drain.  Add 1/4 butter, 1/2 cup of cream or milk and about 1/2 tsp. black pepper.  Now, with a hand mixer, whip them well.  Set aside.

While all the above was going on, fry up a pound of lean ground beef with a generous amount of onion, lots of onion.  I put in two whole medium onions.  Add to this 1.5 cups of beef broth and thicken with a mixture of water and cornstarch.  Set aside.

Grate a good cup and a half of sharp cheddar cheese.  Set aside.

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Okay, now you are done setting things aside.  Open-mouthed smile  Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Pile meat mixture into your squash halves.  Be generous, you want to use it all up.  Now pile on those creamy potatoes.  Now cover in cheese.  Bake for about 45 minutes.   (all ovens are different, check for doneness after about 30 minutes).  Oh yeah, oh yeah.  Good eating!!  Click the pictures….